Eastwood Preview Round 13
Grade T. G. Millner Field
Colts Manly Oval
By Paul Treanor
Last time we met: Round 9
Firsts Lost 18 – 41 Colts 1 Won 39 – 21
Seconds Lost 18 – 24 Colts 2 Won 36 – 12
Thirds Won 36 – 13 Colts 3 Lost 21 – 28
Fourths Lost 7 – 13
4th Grade – 4th Place
Fourths have lost their Mojo going down for their third loss in a row 8 – 13 against Southern Districts. This loss has dropped them one place of the ladder although on equal points with third placed Manly and 5th placed Northern Suburbs. It was this match up in Round nine that started the rot and there is no better way of getting back on track than a win over the Marlins this Saturday on our home turf.
Luke Ferris returns to Hooker replacing Pat Ferris while Adrian Wyper and Matt Prestipino are the new Second Row pairing. Dan Matthews is the new Number 10 with Daniel Bystrom replacing the injured Sione Kupu in the Centres along side the Bus by another name. Another who has tasted First Grade, Mark Frost made a successful return last week on the Wing after spending time in rehab since Round 11 last year. This week he has been selected at Full Back replacing Nick Tregoning. Also returning from injury last week was Seconds Captain Tom Ellem who had a run off the bench for Fourths.
Manly have been on a roll winning their last five matches and will feel they can make it six against the out of form Eastwood. With Norths playing Penrith both sides will be keen for the points and retain their place on the ladder.
Eastwood have shown early in the season what they are capable of and will need to get back to the game plan which will see them take out this important clash. Match of the round will be 1st play 2nd when University and Eastern Suburbs clash at Woollahra Oval.
3rd Grade – 1st Place
Thirds were the only successful Grade side last time we clashed with Manly and they will be looking to continue on their winning way after their strong showing against Southern Districts last weekend. The match of the day for Thirds will be 2nd placed Eastern Suburbs taking on 3rd placed University.
Myles Hunkin, who came off the bench in Seconds last week, takes over from Daniel Minto at Hooker. An injury sees promising hard running Brodie Monroe out and replaced by Mick Tamone in the Centres who in turn has been replaced at Full Back by Dave Sutton coming up from Fourths.
Manly are sitting in 9th with just the four wins. They had a win last Saturday against Parramatta 40 – 17 but will find the competition tougher this week against the competition leaders. With our mobile forward pack and speed to burn in the backline Eastwood will prove too strong for Manly in Thirds.
2nd Grade – 3rd Place
Seconds had one of their best wins of the season against Southern Districts scoring 60 points while only allowing one converted try to be scored against them. Last outing against Manly saw Eastwood let the game get away and they could have pulled out a win on the final play but it wasn’t to be. Three wins in a row sets them up well for the return bout. The top of the ladder is tight with the top three sides making a mini break over the rest. The Manly and Eastwood game is the match of the round for Seconds with 2nd playing 3rd.
Tannous Ferris returns from his week away with the Lebanon side and replaces Luke Ferris at Hooker. George Kent, who is in the middle of exams has been bracketed with Dave Piukala in the back row. In the backs Brad Curtis, who came off the bench last week, has been named on the wing in place of the injured Ben Coady.
Manly had a surprise loss to Parramatta last start (15 – 19) and will be wanting to make amends. They know they almost lost to Eastwood last time. Eastwood have been building since that narrow loss at Manly Oval and will be a tougher nut to crack this time around. It should be tight again with both sides full of talented fringe First Graders. It should be a great contest.
1st Grade – 2nd Place
Eastwood’s second loss of the season that earned them a bonus point and Manly’s five points from their win over Parramatta sees Manly jump six points ahead of us. Souths win sees them move to within eight points of Eastwood. Southern Districts would be favourites in their clash with Parramatta this Saturday and, if that’s the case, will add pressure to the loser of the Manly and Eastwood encounter. The game is the Match of the Day for the Shute Shield this Saturday and is rightfully the TV match on Seven Two.
The First Grade side is unchanged from the one who played Souths last Saturday. In a tight affair no bench players were used last week but we have two fresh reserves for this week top of the table clash who should add some x-factor to the side.
Meanwhile the announced Manly side is without their Waratah contracted Hooker David Porecki and is replaced by Vance Elliot. Also missing from the team is their impressive Full Back Brenden Hartman who scored that intercept try against us last time. His place has been taken by Shaun Treweek. Andrew Collins returns to Tighthead and Mitch Daniel retains in place in the Back Row for their injured Captain Kotoni Ale.
Manly have continued their impressive winning streak making it 12 from 12 with their 45 – 26 win over Parramatta. They capitalised on our mistakes in Round 9 and scored a couple of late tries to blow out the scoreline to 41 – 18. With a new halves combination and a game plan to counter the Marlins strengths Eastwood will be looking to reverse that decision.
Sadly this is the last game for Pat Sio before he heads off to take up his new contract with the French Club Stade Francais. In his time with Eastwood he has been a dominate force in the Shute Shield and his efforts this year have again been outstanding. As The Coach said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph back in February when his move was announced “He is the closest thing to Cliffy Palu we’ve (Australia) got.” We wish Pat well in this next step in his rugby career and hope to see him return to Australia in the future and again wear the White and Blue as well as the Green and Gold, although there is talk we could see him in French colours.
A win over the undefeated Manly would be a great way to send him off.
Colts 3 – 6th Place
Eastwood picked up their first win in five rounds. They are on equal points with 5th placed Southern Districts and 7th placed West Harbour. The stakes remain high and the game is no less important this Saturday against Manly who beat Eastwood 28 – 21 back in Round 9. Since then Manly have lost their three matches and are sitting in 10th place. Can Eastwood repeat the success they had reversing the tables on Souths by taking the points from Manly? A back to back win is very possible and is the game Eastwood needs to win to stay in the race for the finals.
Manly loss 21 – 26 to Parramatta, who are just two points behind us. They play Souths this Saturday in what will be a must win game for both sides. West Harbour have a tough assignment taking on competition leaders Randwick in what is a interesting round of rugby for Colts 3 this Saturday.
Colts 2 – 7th Place
Although Colts 2 lost to Southern Districts they hang onto 7th place just two points out of the six. The competition for the finals remains intense and every point is vital for five teams trying to get the last two places. Manly have not had a very successful season so far and are sitting in 11th place with just the two wins. Colts 2 won their last match up and will want to make it two from two. The end of the season is rapidly approaching and wins are vital from here on in with any loss adding to the pressure of making the finals.
Colts 1 – 8th Place
The loss to Southern Districts has put a serve dent in Colts 1 campaign and sees them drop further down the ladder. Although they are only five points behind 5th they will need to start putting wins together as further losses will put them in danger of missing the finals for the second year in a row. The task against Manly will not be an easy one although Eastwood won 39 – 21 in Round 9. Their win one loose one trend would suggest a win is on the cards this round, but the game is not won by mathematical patterns.
Manly are just one point ahead of us and will be as desperate for the win as Eastwood. They also lost last round when they were beaten by Parramatta. Eastwood will be strengthened by the return of Rohhan Zebib to Loosehead and Joshua Nohra who has been selected on the Wing for this must win clash. Tim Anstee, who has missed the last two weeks, and Zac Simpson have been promoted from Colts 2 to the pack.
A game that should be made more intense by the need for both teams to win. The added incentive is 6th placed Easts are up against 2nd placed University. The winner of the Manly and Eastwood game could leap frog Eastern Suburbs. Every loss from here on in is making it difficult to make the finals and a win this Saturday is critical to keeping those chances alive.
Despite mixed results on the weekend the top four remain the same in the hunt for the Club Championship. Randwick’s success over University and Eastwood’s performances against Southern Districts sees Randwick increase their lead over Eastwood as we increased out lead over University. Manly moved closer and are now 67 points behind University. They are well clear of fifth placed Northern Suburbs. The most critical match up this weekend is Eastwood verses Manly.
Ben Batger retains his position as the leading point scorer for First Grade and all competitions, while Nick O’Connor added another two tries to his tally and remains the leading try scorer across all Grades and the leading point scorer in Thirds.